Kt.cr 1970, C.B.E. 1969, h.c.M.A., F.R.S.A. (London), F.R.A.S. (N.S.W.)
A Biographical Sketch
William Alexander Dargie was born on 4 June 1912 at Footscray, Victoria.
He was the first born son, and first of the two children, of Andrew
Dargie, who worked in the timber industry and schoolteacher, Adelaide
Mary, nee Sargent.
grandparents came from Forfar, a small town north of Dundee, between Dundee
and Aberdeen, Scotland. Dargie's Scottish ancestry can be traced back
to 1600, however Dargie will tell you that the very early roots of the
Dargie family are Danish.
grandparents were residents of Footscray.
Like Arthur Streeton, Dargie had a family that provided him with no early
artistic influences, and also like Streeton, Dargie had one parent a schoolteacher.
Dargie's brother, Horrace
Andrew (Horrie, as he was known) was born on 7 July 1917.
It is recorded that Dargie 'had his early schooling at the old gold town
Victoria (at State School no. 957), and then at the nearby timber town
of Erica, but he and his younger brother, Horrie, who was to become a
popular band-leader, were educated chiefly in Melbourne.'
Dargie's mother was
determined that her boys were to receive a good education. By all accounts
she was a strong woman, and somewhat of a pioneer, being one of the earliest
of women schoolteachers in Victoria. She taught in remote areas such as
Jerusalem Creek, an old gold mining town now submerged beneath Lake Eildon,
and also in the Otways.
However, even with
this pioneering spirit she was not up to living long term in the bush
near Erica. The saw-millers and timber workers cottages were 'over the
back', on the western side of Erica, and it was here that Dargie spent
several of his early years.
His father, Andrew
worked with his brother, Percy, who was also in the local timber industry,
and it is known that they worked on the building of several of the railway
bridges in the area. Recently, the local Historical Society has honoured
Percy Dargie, through the erection of a photographic display of the 'Tramway
Track' that he built. Many of the bridges that Andrew and Percy worked
on were later demolished, although work is presently underway to rebuild
and reopen part of the old railway line.
that one of his earliest drawings was a map of Australia. He was at a
country school and was eight or nine at the time. The headmaster, on looking
at his work, which Dargie recalls 'he had just made up', was not impressed,
for the drawing was of such high quality that he was accused of tracing
the image and was given 'a whack with the strap for cheating'.
From talking with
Dargie, it would seem that his mother preferred to live in Melbourne with
her relatives than to be 'stuck out in the bush' in Erica. So his parents
spent time apart, in what seems to have been a mutual separation based
on what was best economically for the family. Dargie informed me that
'such incidents were not talked about in those days.'
Whatever the situation
was, Dargie recalls one event that occurred when he was only six or seven,
when the family were together.
'We had a small cottage on a farm, overlooking South Gippsland. One night
my father was very ill, and we had to take him to the nearest township,
that was some miles away, for medical attention. All we had was a small
jinker. My father was laid across the back, and my mother, who had my
young brother, as a baby, by her side, had to steer along what was known
as a jinkered road - whilst I had to walk out in front carrying a storm
lantern. I will never forget that night, for I thought my father was going
to die.' His father didn't die that night, although for many years he
had trouble with his hip.
Dargie and his brother
moved back to the city with his mother, visiting relatives in Footscray,
(probably the Sargent family - the parents of his mother, who were residents
of Footscray), and later settling in a cottage off Douglas Parade, Williamstown.
Dargie's father it seems chose to stay in the bush, where he had a regular
income working with the timber.
with his schooling, and it is recorded that, 'In Room 6 at Footscray 'Tech'
(now the Footscray Institute of Technology), young William Dargie took
his first art lesson. His teacher was Mr C.F. Mundie, the Institute's
first Art Master.' Dargie recalls that as a youth he met Tom
Roberts and Arthur
'Streeton - he describes as a genius. Roberts was like good prose, whereas
Streeton had poetic flare.'
On finishing his
schooling, Dargie followed in his mother's footsteps and enrolled in a
Teacher Training course, which he successfully completed. One of his first
postings was the North Williamstown State School, where he met Hal
Porter, who was to become one of his close friends. Dargie recalls
'We taught all the topics. I taught top grade, and Hal Porter taught the
next one down.'
It was later noted that,
'Until he was nineteen, two ambitions obsessed him; one of these was to
become a Davis Cup tennis player, and the other to be a poet. He practiced
tennis assiduously, but on his own assessment he was "never better than
a useful B Pennant player."
He also wrote many poems, and some of these were published, but not under
Dargie's own name.'
Dargie noted that,
he came to painting 'because steady rain washed out tennis and left him
with time on his hands one Saturday afternoon in the 1931 summer. A friend
took him along to meet the Melbourne artist, Archie
Colquhoun and as Dargie wandered about Colquhoun's studio, something,
as he puts it, "just went click" like that, and from then painting was
the only thing I wanted to do .'
Dargie clearly remembers
the occasion, and states that,
'It was just like Paul on the road to Tarsus. Twenty minutes in that studio
and I was lost.'
Dargie recalls that,
'It was a time when I was interested in epistemological matters - the
theory of knowledge and what you could and couldn't know - and (A. Colquhoun's)
talk was about the analysis of visual sense data.'
was a disciple of Max Meldrum, and Dargie recalls that Colquhoun, 'gave
me a piece of board and said "all you do, in the first instance, is put
that alongside your subject. Just forget what you think you know about
the subject and take these patches of colour and make them the same on
the canvas as you see them alongside it."'
'All my work', Dargie says, 'is based on what Archie Colquhoun taught
me then and later.' At the time Dargie met Archie Colquhoun, he was teaching
English and Mathematics and was under contract to the Victorian Education
Department. Given that jobs and money was hard to come by, what Dargie
did next was a bold and brave move. Rather than resign from the Education
Department, he took a year's leave of absence without pay, and spent the
year in Colquhoun's studio 'watching, listening, studying, learning.'
During that year, Dargie continued his studies at the Melbourne Technical
College. It is recorded that he first studied sculpture under George Allen,
and then in 1932-1933 studied painting under Napier Waller.
Dargie was later
to produce a large mural for the foyer of New
Holland (Australasia) Pty. Ltd. in six-foot square panels, which showed
in its style the strong influence of Napier Waller. Dargie reportedly
received further studies under the Englishman, Tom Carter.
Two of the earliest
portraits that Dargie produced were a fine 'Self-Portrait',
and another of his brother Horrie, as 'The
Young Recruit', both painted in 1933.
Dargie recalls that,
'In 1933, I survived on nine pence a day. There were many small cafes
in Russell Street where one could get a three-course meal for nine pence
- and I knew them all.' Apart from these small cafes in Russell Street
that Dargie and his colleagues used to frequent, another popular café
was Café Petrushka in Little Collins Street. Café
Petrushka was managed by Minka Wolman who was later to marry artist
Hayward Veal, and the address of this café was 144 Little Collins Street.
It is interesting
to note that only a short distance away, Archie Colquhoun had established
his 'Colquhoun School of Painting' at 125 Little Collins Street. Hal Porter
later listed the following as habitues to Café Petrushka in 1937, 'Loudon
Sainthill, James Flett with 'a portfolio of water colour pirates and self
portraits', John Dale and Max Meldrum, William Dargie, Hayward Veal, Helene
Kirsova, with her hair in pale braids, with pale eyes and flaming cheeks',
Albert Tucker, and George Bell and his students.'
first visit to Australia in 1936 was as one of the principals in the Monte
Carlo Russian Ballet. She was one of the earliest to establish Russian
ballet in Australia by forming her own company in Sydney in 1940. This
Company later gave a season of ballet at His Majesty's Theatre, Melbourne
under the auspices of J.C. Williamson Ltd.
The Russian ballet
greatly impressed Dargie and Loudon Sainthill, and Dargie painted a number
of the ballerinas including Tania Riabochinska. Dargie's ballet works
depicted members of the Russian ballet and their costumes. Many of these
works produced around 1935 included pen and ink, gouache and small oils
on canvas. However, Dargie also produced a number of major works in 1935,
and one was his oil 'Portrait of Jean'.
As a student, Dargie
recalls that one of the artworks that impressed him the most in the National
Gallery of Victoria collection, was 'Tranquil
Winter', 1895 by Walter Withers.
When his year's leave
of absence ended, Dargie went back to the relative servitude of teaching.
But now, with art studies behind him, he concentrated on teaching art.
'First he had a year teaching small boys art at Caulfield Technical College;
then he went to Swinburne Technical College as a Senior Art Master.' Dargie
continued his private art lessons with Archie Colquhoun until 1934.
Dargie became a member of the Victorian Artists' Society. He was referred
to the Society by Louis McCubbin, and from 1934, he regularly exhibited
with the Society. Later Dargie was to be made a Life Member of the Victorian
Artists' Society and Honorary Fellow, and in 1990 received their Honor
During 1934, Dargie
had what he called his first big show.
'It was a mixed show at the Victorian Artists' Society. Autumn of 1934.
I only put one picture in it. A self-portrait. It sold. I was shipwrecked
on the shores of bohemia.'
The twenty-two year
old artist had further success that year with the sale of several paintings
at an exhibition in the Stair Gallery in Melbourne. One of these works
titled 'Flower Piece' 1933 that was sold in this 1934 exhibition is now
in the collection of the Benalla Art Gallery.
It was during this year that Dargie launched out on a full-time painting
career. One of his early self-portraits painted this year is now in the
collection of the Castlemaine Art Gallery.
On 24 February 1937, William Alexander Dargie married Kathleen Clara Howitt,
daughter of G.H. Howitt of England. Kathleen was born on 25 February 1910,
and the marriage took place at the Registry Office in Melbourne.
Dargie counts himself
lucky that his wife, who was a talented artist herself, 'understood what
he wanted of life and was willing to make the sacrifices that had to be
Dargie and his wife met when they were both art students.
Dargie gave his studio address at this time as 8 Mooltan Avenue, East
St. Kilda. S.2.
In an early (undated-as
to year) exhibition catalogue titled 'Exhibition
of Paintings: (W.A. Dargie and P.G. Moore)' Athenaeum., July 25 to August
5, a number of Dargie's works are of ballet subjects. The address
on this catalogue is 8 Mooltan Avenue, East St. Kilda. S.2.
During 1937, Dargie
painted the portrait of sculptor, Edith Moore.
Dargie continued with his painting, and held another exhibition of his
works - between 30 August and 10 September. The exhibition catalogue,
of Paintings and Drawings by W.A. Dargie' was (undated-as to year),
and gave no indication where the exhibition was held. However, the catalogue
did give Dargie's studio address as 8 Mooltan Avenue, East St. Kilda.
Dargie painted a portrait of his wife, Kathleen
Dargie won the A.V. Woodward Prize, from the Bendigo Art Gallery, and
also won the McPhillimy Art Prize, from the Geelong Art Gallery. Dargie
remembers that the judge of the McPhillimy Art Prize was Sir John Longstaff.
Longstaff was greatly impressed with Dargie's work, and later left his
easel to Dargie in his will.
The Myer family, have suggested that it was around 1940 that Dargie painted
the portrait of Dame Merlyn Myer D.B.E.
Dargie and fellow artist, Murray Griffin enlisted in World War II, however
'we were dragged out very smartly and appointed as war artists.' Dargie
was appointed an official war artist during World War II, with A.I.F.
(Captain), R.A.A.F. and R.A.N. in the Middle East and New Guinea, India,
and Burma, and produced many works depicting military action in Crete,
Milne Bay and the Owen Stanleys.
Horrie also joined the Army during the war, and eventually transferred
to the 1st Australian Entertainment Unit as Musical Director / Variety
Performer in the 3rd Armoured Division Concert Party. Horrie served in
New Guinea and later in the occupied army in Japan.
While digging a trench in Tobruk, Dargie was informed that he had won
the Archibald Prize
for 1941, with his portrait of Sir
James Elder K.B.E. This was the first of his eight Archibald prize-winning
portraits, and Dargie was still but a young man of twenty-nine.
A week later, on
19 January 1942, it was reported in the papers that Dargie had won the
75 pound - George Mackay Commemoration Prize, held by the Bendigo Art
Gallery for a selected portrait in oils. The prize was given on the recommendation
of the adjudicator, J.S. MacDonald. The next day it was announced in the
papers that Dargie's painting was a self-portrait and that the prize was
Dargie spent nearly
a year in the Middle East as an official war artist, and returned to Australia
in June 1942, joined the Military History section of the Army, and spent
the rest of the war, painting and sketching.
It was around this
time that Dargie was accepted as a member of the Melbourne Savage Club.
A fellow member of this Club (1925-1978) was Rt. Honourable Sir Robert
Gordon Menzies, who was President of the Club (1947-1962).
Dargie returned to
work in New Guinea and Burma, and in Greece after the liberation - producing
hundreds of paintings and sketches, many of which are now housed in the
Australian War Memorial collection in Canberra.
Reports on Dargie's
war paintings and sketches were in marked contrast to the harsh criticism
that he received from the Sydney critics over his Archibald prize-winning
works. For example it was noted that Dargie,
'is capable of producing small pictures of great sensitivity and expression',
and overall he contributed more than six hundred works, many of these
pencil sketches, pen and ink works, and watercolours, to the collection
of the Australian War Memorial.
In 1942, Dargie's
works were illustrated in 'Soldiering On: The Australian Army at Home
and Overseas', and in 1943, his work was illustrated in 'Khaki and Green:
With the Australian Army at Home and Overseas.' Both of these publications
were published by the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, and the works
by Dargie illustrated in these publications, were captioned with Dargie's
Military Service Number: B3/59.
Dargie was notified early in the year that he had won the Archibald
Prize for 1942, with his portrait of Corporal
Jim Gordon V.C. Dargie had painted Gordon's portrait after he had
been awarded the Victoria Cross for gallantry as an infantry private in
Syria. It was a portrait that was well received by the public as typifying
the Australian soldier.
Dargie's son, Roger
was born in Armadale, Victoria in 1943, and was the first of his two children.
In one report it
is noted that, 'Dargie was commissioned as a Lieutenant in October 1943
and was later promoted to Captain.' Dargie was stationed in Atherton,
North Queensland, late in 1943, and it was here that he painted his portrait
of General Douglas MacArthur - on a toilet door. Dargie later described
this painting as being produced, 'In a moment of youthful folly' during
a farewell party before the troops left Atherton and headed off to New
During 1943, Dargie
also painted the portrait of Captain Edward Harty, Infantryman, 9th Australian
It is noted in the
1943 Bread and Cheese Club publication 'Fellows All' that, 'the Club owns
an oil painting by William Dargie of Louis Politzer', a writer on cooking
and one time lecturer on cooking at the Emily McPherson College for Domestic
Dargie was allocated duty with the R.A.A.F. in India in 1944, and also
worked in the New Guinea campaign, producing numerous pen and brush and
ink works. Dargie recalled in 1997 the artwork he achieved in the jungle,
'You'd have a satchel on your back. I put a bit of ply into my bag to
hold the watercolour paper flat. You had your sheets of drawing paper,
a bottle of indian ink. I used a goose feather, a goose quill, to fan
the colour with. One day I saw a company going to action with a Catholic
priest getting them to kneel first, bow their heads to God. I thought
that would make a good painting. Praying before the battle. That was with
the 57/60th Battalion.'
Dargie further remembered
his return after the war,
'I came home with the remnants of the military forces from New Guinea.
When I got to Moresby, the Japs were 14 miles up the track. I was down
in Milne Bay; that's where the crack Jap troops were defeated for the
first time. This was the 2/9th Division; the 2/10th and the 9th Military
At the cessation
of hostilities, Dargie was sent to Greece to 'make good, the discrepancies
in art coverage of the disastrous campaign that took place in 1941.'
His name appeared
for the fist time in 'Who's Who in Australia', and his address
was given as 8 Mooltan Avenue, E. St. Kilda, Vic.
Dargie was notified early in the year that he had won the Archibald
Prize for 1945 with his portrait of Lieutenant-General
Sir Edmund Herring K.C.M.G., K.B.E., D.S.O., M.C., K.St.J., E.D. This
was his third Archibald prize-winning work.
of his duties as official war artist, Dargie was appointed in April 1946,
as Head, National Gallery of Victoria Art School (1946-1953). Among his
many students were John Brack, Clifton Pugh, Lawrence Daws and Bruce Fletcher.
Also attending the National Gallery of Victoria Art School at this time
was Alan Martin and Fred Williams.
Dargie was notified early in the year that he had won the Archibald
Prize for 1946 with his portrait of L.C.
Robson M.C., M.A. Headmaster of North Sydney Grammar School. In 'Who's
Who in Australia' for 1947, Dargie's address is given as Olinda, Vic.,
and a photograph from a newspaper dated 16 January 1947, shows Dargie
in his garden in Olinda with his young son, Roger on a tricycle.
The Maltby family,
of whom Peg was a well-known author of children's books and illustrator,
remembers that Dargie and his family at this time lived close by, in their
street - Sunset Avenue, Olinda.
Along with John Farmer and William Ricketts, Dargie became a patron of
the 'Save the Dandenongs League' that was formed in 1944.
Dargie was later to become the 'quiet driving force', whose influence
helped William Ricketts achieve his dream of creating his Sanctuary.
During this year,
Dargie became an Associate of the Twenty Melbourne Painters, and was Associate
(1947-1952) and Member (1953-1988). For many years, Dargie was an Office
Bearer of the Twenty Melbourne Painters, and at the time of his resignation
in 1988, was Chairman. Dargie was particularly fond of this group of artists,
and he regularly took part in their exhibitions.
Horrie moved back to Melbourne around 1947. After the war, Horrie formed
his successful Harlequintet, or Quintet for short, and later Quartet.
Once again Dargie was notified early in the year that he had won the Archibald
Prize. The prize for 1947 had been awarded to Dargie for his portrait
of Sir Marcus Clark
Faye was born in Melbourne, Victoria.
During this year, Dargie produced a number of small landscape works, one
of these being, 'Summer in the Dandenong Foothills'.
In 'Who's Who in Australia', 1950, Dargie's address is given as
'St. Austell', Clarkmont Road, Sassafras, Vic. His previous house in Olinda
he had swapped for one of the first 'Jennings' houses built in Glen Huntly,
and the proceeds from the sale of this 'Jennings' house went to the purchase
of 'St. Austell' with its beautiful four acre garden. During this year,
Dargie painted the portrait of Lady Travers, as well as the portrait of
Dame Enid Lyons.
Early in the
year Dargie was notified that he had won the Archibald
Prize for 1950, with his portrait of Sir
Dargie exhibited with the Royal Academy, London. Augustus John had earlier
nominated Dargie for membership of the Academy. Dargie also exhibited
in the UNESCO exhibition in Paris. Around 1951, Dargie painted the portrait
of Sir Edwin Nixon.
The recording of the 'Horrie Dargie Concert', performed at the Sydney
Town Hall on 18 November 1952, was reported as achieving Australia's first
Around 1952, Dargie sold 'St, Austell' and bought what became his permanent
family home, where he still resides today, at 19 Irilbarra Road, Canterbury,
Dargie also purchased another Canterbury residence, a large two-storey
Victorian weatherboard, which was close to his family home, and situated
at 23 Mangarra Road, Canterbury. The Mangarra Road residence became Dargie's
'Art School'. The downstairs lounge-room became the main studio, and the
five or six bedrooms upstairs became studios for students.
Dargie won the Archibald
Prize for 1952, with his portrait of Mr
Essington Lewis C.H. This was Dargie's seventh Archibald prize-winning
work. A newspaper article in The Age on 25 February 1953, titled
'Melbourne Artist to Advise Govt.' reported that, 'Mr W.A. Dargie had
been appointed to the Commonwealth Art Advisory Board.' Dargie was appointed
a Member, Commonwealth Art Advisory Board (1953 - 1975), and was Chairman,
Commonwealth Art Advisory Board (1969 - 1973).
The Yorick Art Prize began in 1953, and Dargie was later a judge of this
Dargie wrote the Introduction for the book: 'Art of Rubery Bennett',
which was published by Angus & Robertson. In the publication 'A Gallery
of Australian Art', published in 1954, Dargie's portrait 'The Irish
Girl' is illustrated and noted as 'part of the collection of the National
Gallery of N.S.W.' Dargie exhibited in the Artists for Peace exhibition,
held at Tye's Gallery in September 1954.
Late in the year,
Dargie travelled to London. He remembers painting the portrait of H.M.
Queen Elizabeth II in Buckingham Palace in December 1954.
During 1954, Dargie also painted the portrait of the Very Rev. Jeremiah
On 14 February 1955 Alice Bale died, and in her will, dated 1 February
1949, 'after various bequests, directed her Trustee (Perpetual Trustees
Victoria Ltd.) to apply the residue of her estate for the purpose of establishing
a scholarship bearing her name and encouraging painting in representational
or traditional art. Her wishes were that the Trustee would appoint a committee
of artists of high standard to provide assistance.
The original committee members were Sir William Dargie CBE, Max Meldrum
, and John Rowell.' In 1979, the Trustee with the concurrence of the committee
varied the terms of the Scholarship. On 18 February 1981, a Court Order
gave power to the Trustee to sell the Kew residence and its contents to
establish the A.M.E. Bale Art Foundation Trust.
for the works entered for the Travelling Scholarship and Art Prizes to
be exhibited at the McClelland Art Gallery, and for the works to be judged
by the 'Twenty Melbourne Painters Society Inc.'. In the 1999, 'Conditions
of Entry', it is evident that the works entered and selected are now shown
at the Glen Eira City Gallery, Caulfield, although the selection and judging
is still in the hands of the Twenty Melbourne Painters Society Inc.. Included
with the 'Conditions of Entry' are a few comments on, 'Traditional Art'
written for prospective entrants by 'Sir
William Dargie CBE, AME Bale Art Foundation Trust.'
Dargie has been involved
as a trustee of the A.M.E. Bale Art Foundation Trust for close to fifty
years. It has been a major interest in his life, and this involvement
and dedication to the Trust highlights two of Dargie's strongest qualities.
The first is his strong organizational skills, and the second is his encouragement
of other artists, especially young artists. One of the early winners of
the Scholarship recently told me that Dargie was not only the driving
force behind the organization of the prize, but that he also provided
lessons to the Scholarship recipients, and greatly encouraged them with
their work. I was further told that, 'Dargie could relate to anyone. From
the poor to the rich, to people from all walks of life and from all ages.'
that Dargie at this time, 'was in England fulfilling 2 years worth of
500 guinea commissions'. Dargie was in England in 1955, with his wife
and their two young children, who were sent to boarding school. At first
he lived with his wife in Hampstead Heath, and they later moved to Abinger
in Surrey, and eventually to a flat in Lansdowne Street in London. It
is known that while overseas, Dargie painted and travelled to various
art centres in Europe with a group of expatriate Australian artists, and
also at one time, shared a studio with Pietro Annigoni.
Around 1955, Dargie
painted the portraits of Dame Mabel Brookes D.B.E., Chev. Legion d'Honneur;
and Dame Pattie Menzies G.B.E. While overseas in England, Dargie rented
out his house in Irilbarra Road, Canterbury, and his parents moved in
to his house in Mangarra Road, Canterbury. Late in the year Dargie returned
alone from England, sold the house in Mangarra Road, and some of the proceeds
from this sale went to the building of a studio, and further extensions
to the house in Irilbarra Road.
Early in 1956, Dargie's wife and children returned from England. Dargie
may have once again travelled to England in 1956, for it was during this
year that he painted the portrait of H.R.H. The Duke of Edinburgh.
Around this time,
Dargie's brother, Horrie and two others had put in a tender, the DYT tender
for the Television Licence for Channel O in Melbourne, and Dargie became
a shareholder in this tender. Unfortunately for DYT, the Licence was given
to Reg Ansett, and although Dargie was greatly disappointed, Horrie was
offered employment with a number of the newly founded television companies.
Horrie compared and presented the 'BP Super Show' on Melbourne's GTV 9,
'The Price Is Right' for the 7 Network and was Production Director of
'The Price Is Right', 'The Delo and Daly Show' and the pop music show
'GO'. Horrie later supplied the harmonica music for the film soundtracks
of 'Crocodile Dundee II' and 'Robbery Under Arms'.
Among Dargie's later
friends was Hector Crawford, with whom Dargie often enjoyed a game of
tennis. It is known that Dargie was back in Australia late in 1956.
On Saturday 27 October 1956, Dargie presented his portrait of Miss C.S.
Montgomery, First Principal, Melbourne Girls' High School, to the School.
Dargie was also reportedly
in Sydney in December 1956, where Albert
Namatjira sat for Dargie to paint his portrait. Dargie remembers well
painting with Namatjira in the vicinity of the MacDonnell Ranges, and
one of Dargie's works of Mount Sonder is now in the Laurence H. Ledger
Collection of the Benalla Art Gallery
Dargie returned to England. He was notified early in the year that he
had won the Archibald
Prize for 1956, with his portrait of Albert
Namatjira. This was Dargie's eighth Archibald prize-winning work.
On 14 May 1957 it was reported that, 'The Queensland National Art Gallery
trustees decided to buy William Dargie's 1957 Archibald prize-winning
portrait of aboriginal artist, Albert Namatjira.' Dargie painted another
portrait of Albert Namatjira around 1959, and this was auctioned as part
of the 'Sir Leon and Lady Trout Collection' by Christie's Australia in
Dargie wrote a book,
'On Painting a Portrait' which was published in London by Artist
Publishing. During 1957, Dargie painted the portrait of Dinah Krongold,
and the posthumous portrait of Sir Kenneth Myer. Late in the year, Dargie
returned with his family to Australia.
noted in his 1993 work on Noel Counihan that, 'Although they were poles
apart politically, William Dargie had come to admire Counihan's work.
It was on Dargie's advice that 'On Bakery Hill' was submitted to the Commonwealth
Art Advisory Board meeting on 8 January 1958 for consideration for purchase
for the National collection - but without success.'
During 1958, Dargie
painted the portraits of Jennifer Smyth with Benita and Bronwen.
Dargie was awarded an O.B.E. During 1959, Dargie painted the portrait
of fellow artist, Sir Lionel Lindsay. This portrait, as well as Dargie's
portrait of fellow artist, Sir William Ashton are in the collection of
the National Gallery of Australia.
Dargie and his family were involved in a car accident in Burke Road, Camberwell,
close to 'Our Lady of Victory' Church.
During 1960, Dargie painted the portrait of Lady Trout.
Dargie painted the portrait of Margaret Smith M.B.E. (M. Barrymore Court
In November 1961, Dargie was accepted as a member of the Melbourne Club.
Louis Kahan drew a portrait of Dargie in ink, grey wash and charcoal,
and this is now in the picture collection of the State Library of Victoria.
Around 1962, Dargie produced a study for a portrait of Hal
Porter. On 19
May, 25 May
and 12 June 1962,
Dargie wrote 'Letters To The Editor' of The Age. These are reproduced
here, for you to read, as they appeared in 1962.
One of the highlights of 1963 for Dargie was the winning of the worldwide
portrait painting competition held by Lancôme.
One of other portrait painters who entered this competition was Pietro
Annigoni. When it was announced that Dargie had won, reporters besieged
Dargie wanting to know, who the model was in his painting, but Dargie
would not say. Dargie wanted to protect the model from the media, for
the model was actually his daughter Faye, who was around the age of fifteen
at the time she modeled for the portrait.
When Dargie was interviewed
by author and Arts writer for The Age, John Hetherington in 1963
about his portrait painting, Dargie suggested that up to 1963 he had painted
200 portraits, and,
'now paints only about six portraits a year, and refuses many commissions.'
Dargie further noted
that, 'while portraits pay him handsomely, they no longer provide the
major part of his income. He earns as much, and probably more, by painting
genre pictures, for which he has a good market in England. He is also
a prolific landscape painter.'
A chapter (from which
the above was taken) titled 'William Dargie: Faces are his Fortune' was
devoted to Dargie in the book 'Australian Painters: Forty Profiles'
by John Hetherington. This chapter had previously appeared in The Age,
in a series 'Australian Artists in Profile'. The series, which covered
the lives of forty of Australia's best known artists, appeared in The
Age 'Literary Supplement', between 11 November 1961 and 24 November
1962. Hetherington in his chapter on Dargie, recalled Dargie's comments
on how he painted a portrait.
'When Dargie paints a portrait he usually needs about eight or ten two-hour
sittings. He likes sitters to talk freely about themselves and their jobs,
but he does not read up a sitter's subject before beginning work on a
portrait of him; he can learn far more of what he wishes to know from
the man himself than from any printed page.'
'A good portrait
painter never paints character'- Dargie says. 'Before he starts painting
he obviously evaluates certain characteristics of his subject, as any
human being would, but that is all. The portrait painter's job, I believe,
is to make an accurate transcription of his subject. If he does that,
people will find meaning in the finished work.' Dargie is convinced that,
' if an artist paints the truth as he sees it, people will find in his
picture the truth as they see it.'
Around this time,
Dargie painted the portrait of George Gotardo Foletta C.M.G. Dargie noted
in 1963 that he was finished with the Archibald, 'because it was no longer
a true test of portraiture'. Later in 1990, Dargie said he regretted those
words; 'It was a stupid thing for me to say. I'd support the Archibald
now and any other prize for this reason and on this proviso: that it shows
a marked bias towards young artists.' During 1963, Dargie once again travelled
Dargie painted the portrait of Professor Richard Selby Smith O.B.E. In
November 1965, the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. Awarded Churchill
Fellowships for the first time. Dargie was a Founding Panel Member of
the Fellowships and was involved with the Churchill Fellowships for many
years, in the role as Arts Consultant on the Panel.
Around this time, Dargie painted the portrait of Ian Beaurepaire C.M.G.
1968 Dargie was appointed a Member, Interim Council, National Gallery
(Canberra), (1968 - 1972).
Dargie was awarded a C.B.E.
Dargie was appointed Chairman, Commonwealth Art Advisory Board, (1969
- 1973). In June 1969, soon after being named the new Chairman of the
Commonwealth Art Advisory Board, 'The Age' art critic, Patrick
McCaughey had this to say,
'Mr Dargie represents the most conservative strain imaginable in present-day
Australian art. His domination of the Archibald Prize in the '40s and
'50s reversed every step painting had taken since impressionism and bequeathed
a burdensome legacy of anachronism to the Archibald from which it has
Dargie was appointed
a Member, Aboriginal Arts Advisory Committee, (1969 - 1971).
On 12 November 1969, Dargie gave a talk on 'Cultural Life in Papua & New
Guinea' to the Papua & New Guinea Society of Victoria in the Kimpton Theatre,
School of Agriculture, Melbourne University.
In June 1970, Dargie was knighted (Kt.cr) for his services to art.
He was in Rabaul at the time that he received the news of his knighthood,
on a field trip collecting and studying Melanesian artefacts. Dargie went
on a number of these field trips, hunting for Melanesian artefacts for
future inclusion in Australian National collections, as well as developing
strong ties with institutions in the Territory of Papua New Guinea. It
was the dismissal of these years of groundbreaking work by Dargie and
also the lack of understanding of its importance by the Whitlam Government
in 1973, that was one of the major reasons for Dargie resigning that year
as Chairman, Commonwealth Art Advisory Board.
Dargie was appointed
a Member, National Capital Planning Advisory Committee, (1970 - 1973).
Dargie was appointed a Trustee, Museum & Art Gallery, Territory of Papua
New Guinea, (1970 - 1974), and of the Native Cultural Reserve, Port Moresby,
(1970 - 1974).
Dargie produced a study for a later portrait of Rt. Hon. Sir Robert Menzies
K.T., A.K., C.H.
On 30 May, an article in the Whitehorse Standard noted that Sir
William Dargie had just completed the commissioned portrait, to be reproduced
as the frontispiece for the biography, titled 'Beyond the Bridge' of Balwyn
vicar, the Rev. J. P. Stevenson.
On 4 June, Sir John
Bloomfield opened the exhibition 'Landscape
and Still-life Paintings by Sir William Dargie' at the McClelland Gallery.
The exhibition ran from 4 June to 20 July 1972.
On 10 July 1972,
Dargie officially opened at the Leichhardt Gallery, Brisbane, the student
exhibition of the Queensland Education Department's new College of Art.
Dargie was Patron of the Spring Festival of Arts & Crafts held at the
Keilor Heights High School from 27- 29 October.
Around 1972-1973, Dargie painted the portrait of Sir Norman Coles as well
as the portrait of Sir Kenneth Coles.
In 1973, Dargie described himself as looking like 'one of those rough-hewn
late-Roman portraits.' On 20 February 1973, a major article on Dargie
titled, 'Portrait of the artist as a businessman: Sir William Dargie talks
to Neil Jillett' was published in The Herald, Melbourne.
This was followed by another significant article on Dargie by Neil Jillett
titled, 'He was a late starter, but success came very early.
Dargie: Artist By Accident' which was published in the Sunday Mail,
Brisbane on 25 March 1973. In this article, Jillett noted that,
'Nowadays, Sir William paints only three or four portraits a year. His
main art income is from smaller works - particularly of domestic interiors,
in an updated style of the Dutch old masters - which have a ready sale
in England. But his real joy is to paint still-lifes, using as the centre
piece a cast of someone with interesting features.'
Dargie has since
produced at least fifty works in this way, and these include works featuring
Hal Porter and Barry Humphries. Around the time of these major articles,
Dargie and his wife, Kathleen, were involved in a very serious car accident.
They had been to 'The Latin' for dinner and decided on that night to go
in Kathleen's car, a Mini Minor, probably because it was the easiest to
get to in their driveway. Dargie was driving, and a car slammed into them
from the left. Dargie was knocked unconscious and left with concussion,
while Kathleen was left with a broken collarbone.
In June 1973, Dargie
officially opened the Dick Ovenden Memorial Art Competition.
In mid-June 1973,
considerable interest in Dargie was generated in the media throughout
Australia when Atherton resident, Miss Florence Arnott donated a painting
by Dargie, which had been in the possession of her family since 1943,
for auction, to the local St. Mary's Parochial Church Council. Dargie
had painted the work late in 1943 on a lavatory door (described as a 5foot
1inch by 2foot - oil), and it depicted General Douglas MacArthur, as Dargie
envisaged he would have looked, seated on a lavatory. The work was eventually
sold for $7000 to 'Mr W.R. Maughan, proprietor of Natureland Zoological
Gardens, Tweed Heads', where the work went 'on display', as reported in
Brisbane, 8 August 1973. Many
years later, (in 1980), Sotheby's in London, put this door work by Dargie
up for auction, and it was suggested at the time that the reserve price
should be set at 2 million Australian dollars.
On 28 June 1973,
it was announced in the article, 'Dargie as Art Judge', which appeared
in the Centralian Advocate, Alice Springs, NT., that Dargie, 'was
to judge the Alice Art Award for that year. Melbourne artist Tim Guthrie
won the award for his painting, 'Edith Falls Waterhole'.
In July, Dargie visited Footscray Institute of Technology, where he gave
praise to his old teacher, Mr C.F. Mundie.
In September, Dargie
designed a motif to be reproduced on gold and silver plates to mark the
opening of the Sydney Opera House. H.M. Queen Elizabeth II officially
opened the Sydney Opera House on 20 October 1973.
Dargie produced an
oil painting of kangaroos for reproduction in the children's book, 'Holidays
at Hillydale' by Dame Mary Daly D.B.E. It is noted in the Artists biographical
notes in this book that, Dargie resigned in 1973 from his position of
Chairman, Commonwealth Art Advisory Board, 'in opposition to the Whitlam
Government's policies on art'. On 5 November 1973, an article titled 'Dargie
hits at PM on art aid' appeared in The Age. In this article it
was reported that Sir William Dargie criticised the Prime Minister, Mr
Whitlam, and said that, 'if the Government could afford to pay $1.4 million
for the controversial painting 'Blue Poles', it could afford $750,000
for an arts centre in Alice Springs'.
In the history of the Melbourne Savage Club book, 'Laughter and the
Love of Friends', it is noted that, 'when Melbourne Savage Club President,
Lindsay George Plant retired, his first choice as his successor was Sir
William Dargie, a thirty-year member at that time, a long serving vice-president
and, as one of Australia's leading portrait painters, a link with the
Club's artistic heritage. Dargie
was spending a lot of time in Canberra and London and, knowing the need
for an active, hands-on president to be on top to reverse the Club's sorry
financial state, declined.' A recent check of the Melbourne Savage Club
records reveal that Dargie has not been a Vice-President of the Club,
however it is possible that he was a long serving Vice-President of the
Dargie was also spending
time in Sydney. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Art Society of New
South Wales, and an exhibition of his works titled 'Small
Paintings by Sir William Dargie' was held at David Jones' Art Gallery
in Sydney from November 26 -December 7, 1974. Dargie for many years dealt
through Gordon Marsh in Sydney, who arranged commissions for him, and
sold works through his Gordon Galleries in Double Bay. Over the years,
in his travels to New South Wales, Dargie painted a number of works of
Sydney Harbour, of areas such as Woolloomooloo and Watsons Bay.
As well as New South Wales, Dargie also used to travel to Queensland and
for many years regularly visited Sir Leon and Lady Trout at Everton House,
Everton Park, Brisbane. Dargie developed a close friendship with Sir Leon
and Lady Trout, and helped them develop their own 'Portrait Gallery' in
When the 'Sir Leon
and Lady Trout Collection' was auctioned by Christie's Australia, 6-7
June 1989, there were twelve works by Dargie listed in the catalogue,
and amongst these was a self-portrait, and three significant portraits
commissioned in 1975 by Sir Leon and Lady Trout for their Portrait Gallery.
These three portraits were a portrait of H.M. Queen Elizabeth II, a portrait
of Dame Pattie Menzies, and a portrait of Sir Robert Gordon Menzies.
Dargie wrote an 'Appreciation'
for the book, 'The Australian artist, Douglas Pratt O.B.E. (1900-1972):
an appreciation of his life and work / by fellow artist, Sir William
Dargie C.B.E. With Douglas Pratt's own story written by him as a biographic
sketch prior to his death in 1972.' The book was published in Artamon,
N.S.W. by order of the artist's family by Australian Artist Editions.
Dargie painted the portrait of Dr Leonard Weickhardt C.B.E., and around
1975, painted the portrait of Dr Keith Fairley.
During 1975, Dargie
also painted the portrait of Mr Laurence H. Ledger M.B.E., which was commissioned
by the Trustees of the Benalla Art Gallery. On his visits to Benalla,
Dargie would often call on Laurence Ledger, and is known to have painted
on his nearby property.
Dargie designed a commemorative plate (9 inches in diameter), portraying
'the Queen in her 50th year and the Queen Mother in her 75th' for the
Archive College of Australia.
In 'Laughter and the Love of Friends', the following lines are
written on the sale by the Melbourne Savage Club of one of its Pacific
artefacts. In February 1977, the sale met with the approval of the Melbourne
Savage Club Committee.
'As it was clearly a one-off sale it was largely accepted by the members,
though Peter Staughton eloquently expressed his dismay at the next Annual
General Meeting and Sir William Dargie, when he returned from London later
in the year, was livid. No one in the Club knew more about Pacific artefacts
than Dargie, who was in no doubt that the Club had been diddled - the
figure was worth at least six times what the Club had received for it.
Dargie was so incensed at what he perceived to be the Club's incompetence
- he was not against selling artefacts per se - that he tendered his resignation
and did not rejoin for several years.'
Dargie judged the
Ryecroft Wines $1000 Acquisitive Art Award. This Award was the highlight
of the Victorian Artists' Society Spring Exhibition, with the winner 'to
be announced on 17 August, by actor, George Layton'.
Dargie was appointed a Council Member, National Museum of Victoria, (1978
- 1983). During 1978, Dargie painted the portrait of Roy Morgan.
Dargie painted the portrait of Sir Thomas Ramsay C.M.G.
An important biographical article on Dargie and his commissioned portrait
of Mr Jim Bennison (Mayor of Benalla 1949 to 1969) for the Benalla Art
Gallery, appeared in The Herald, Melbourne 21 March 1980.
On 15 May 1980, the
Telecommunications Tower on Black Mountain, Canberra was officially opened.
Few at the opening would have realized that Dargie had produced the initial
design drawings for the tower.
During 1980, Dargie
painted the portraits of Sir James McNeill C.B.E., Sir David Derham K.B.E.,
C.M.G., and Hon. Sir Henry Bolte G.C.M.G. Dargie later noted in an article
titled 'Master paints true picture on portrait', published in the Herald-Sun
July 2000 that with regard to Sir Henry Bolte's portrait,
"I'm rather proud of that portrait. Sir Henry was a damn good subject,
and we became friends. I liked him. He would come to my studio for sittings,
and used to get through a fair bit of whisky and plenty of unfiltered
cigarettes. I was painting away one day when we decided to take a break.
But when I suggested we start again, he said 'No, It's finished. Don't
touch it.' And he was absolutely right."
Dargie was appointed Chairman, Board of Trustees, McClelland Gallery,
Langwarrin, (1981 - 1987). During 1981, Dargie painted the portrait of
Sir Ian Munro McLennan K.C.M.G., K.B.E. (Chairman, ANZ Banking Group Limited
Dargie rejoined the Melbourne Savage Club. During 1982, Dargie painted
the portrait of Lindsay Yeo A.O., who had been Melbourne Savage Club President
Dargie also painted the portraits of John Connell, Robert Rofe and Neil
Walford. 1983 During 1983, Dargie painted the portraits of Sir Lance Townsend
and Sir Henry Winneke A.C., K.C.M.G., K.C.V.O., O.B.E.,K.St.J.
Dargie wrote the 'Foreword' for the book, 'Views of Victoria in the
steps of von Guerard: a fifth book of paintings, poetry and prose'
by Dacre Smyth.
During the year,
Dargie painted the portraits of Geoffrey Donaldson A.O., and Genevieve
Morgan (Mrs Gary Morgan).
In August 1985, Dargie officially opened at La Trobe University Gallery,
the exhibition 'A Tribute to Victor Cobb 1876-1945', curated by Andrew
An article titled, 'Sir William Dargie interviewed' (at the unveiling
of the portrait of the Vice Chancellor, Professor John Ward, The University
of Sydney) appeared in The Gazette and Letter to Graduates vol.4,
no.13, September 1985. In this article, Dargie reflects on several other
portraits that he had painted of the University of Sydney Chancellor's,
Vice-Chancellor's and Registrar.
On 17 October 1985,
a significant article on the life and work of Dargie, appeared in the
Herald, Melbourne, under the title 'An Aussie master mellows'.
A major exhibition
of Dargie's portraits titled, 'Dargie: 50 Years of Portraits' was held
at Gallery 499, Roy Morgan Centre, 499 Bourke Street, Melbourne from 28
October- 22 November 1985. It was noted that the exhibition was part of
Victoria's 150th Birthday Celebrations. In the exhibition 42 portraits
were displayed, including those of leading men and women in the areas
of politics, science, sport and business. The exhibition had been promoted
in an article 'Gone but not forgotten' published in The Bulletin
22 October 1985.
In 1985, Dargie noted that, 'today when it comes to painting a portrait,
I don't start until I have seen the completed image in my mind.'
Dargie was also recorded in 1985, as saying,
'When I was young, I used to paint lovely deep shadows, now I use as much
light as possible. And I strive to be simple. Simplicity takes a lifetime
On 6 April 1986, Dargie once again officially opened the exhibition 'A
Tribute to Victor Cobb 1876-1945', curated by Andrew Mackenzie, this time
at the McClelland Art Gallery.
Dargie wrote the 'Foreword'
for the book, 'The Etchings, Lecture Notes and Writings of Victor Cobb
1876-1945'. This book was compiled and edited by Andrew Mackenzie
and published by Pioneer Design Studio. Later that year, Dargie was guest
speaker at the duel launching, in the Victorian Artists' Society Galleries,
of this book on Victor Cobb and the book, 'Walter Withers: The Forgotten
Manuscripts' written by Andrew Mackenzie and published by Mannagum
During 1988, Dargie painted the portrait of John Dewar Milne, Managing
Director, ANZ Banking Group Limited (1980-1984).
Dargie was elected Chairman of the Art Sub-Committee of the Melbourne
Club, (1989 - 1991), and was on the sub-committee (1989 - 1994).
Twelve of Dargie's works from the 'Sir Leon and Lady Trout Collection'
were auctioned by Christie's Australia 6-7 June 1989.
On 11 February 1990, a major article on Dargie titled, 'Meeting an angry
artist': (Knights of the '90s) written by Lawrence Money was published
in The Sunday Age. In this article, Dargie recalls Gough Whitlam
'He was the one responsible for one of the biggest disappointments in
my life, when I was Head of the Commonwealth Art Advisory Board. It was
a scheme at building up a link with Melanesian art, a twin relationship
between our proposed new gallery and the museum at Port Moresby. It was
all set up and ready to go, but Whitlam killed it. I think part of the
reason was his personal dislike of me.' Dargie resigned from the Commonwealth
Art Advisory Board soon after. Also in this Sunday Age article,
Dargie discussed his approach to painting.
'I discovered when I was quite young that if you were going to paint with
any reasonable chance of success at all the picture had to appear, as
it were, before you in your mind's eye with the brush strokes too but
still incomplete. I was surprised years later to hear Freddie Williams
say that this was the thing he most remembered and put into practice.'
Dargie wrote the
for the book, 'Frederick McCubbin 1855-1917: 'The Proff' and his art'
written by Andrew Mackenzie, and published by Mannagum Press.
Dargie was presented with the Victorian Artists' Society Honor Medal for
his outstanding contributions to art.
In September, Dargie's portrait of Sir Robert Gordon Menzies was offered
for 'Sale By Tender'.
On 4 June 1992, Dargie noted that his wish on his 80th Birthday was,
'If I could find a doctor to make me physically aligned to my mental age
of 25 - that wouldn't be a bad thing would it'.
On 5 June, a significant article on Dargie titled, 'Dargie daubs the uncommon
with a common touch', written by Bryce Hallett, appeared in The Australian.
Four of Dargie's portrait works were featured in the exhibition, 'Uncommon
Australians: Towards an Australian Portrait Gallery' which was held at
the National Gallery of Victoria to 29 June 1992, before touring to Canberra,
Brisbane, Sydney and Adelaide. The four works by Dargie in this exhibition
were his portraits of Essington Lewis, Charles Kingsford Smith, Charles
Ulm and Albert Namatjira.
During 1992, Dargie was guest speaker at a packed House Dinner held at
the Melbourne Savage Club.
On 8 April, Dargie's portrait of H.M. Queen Elizabeth II, painted in 1954,
was featured by Australia Post on a 45cent stamp. One of Dargie's illustrations
was used for the cover for the menu for the Centenary Dinner of the Melbourne
Savage Club, held in the Great Hall, National Gallery of Victoria, 9 May
A major sale exhibition of fifty of Dargie's selected works was held at
Eastgate Gallery, 158 Burwood Road, Hawthorn, Victoria, between 25 June
and 15 July 1995. The exhibition was titled, 'Sir
William Dargie: Selected Works 1931-1995'. The exhibition prompted
two reviews, one by Robert Rooney in The Australian 7 July 1995,
p. 12, and the other by Robert Nelson in The Age 28 June 1995,
p. 23. Considerable space was devoted to an article on Dargie that appeared
in the 'Weekend' Herald-Sun 8 July 1995, p. 3 under the title,
Dargie wrote the 'Foreword' to the book, 'C. Dudley Wood' written
by Gavin Fry and published by Beagle Press in Sydney.
In March, an article noted that, 'Dargie is to paint the portrait of retiring
State Governor, Richard McGarvie.' On 5 April, a major article on Dargie
titled, 'Through a glass, Dargie' written by Barry Dickens, appeared in
The Age (Extra Features).
On Sunday 9 November 1997, a Remembrance Service was held at St. Barnabas'
Church, Balwyn and on this occasion Dargie presented to the church a memorial
plaque to all forces - which he had painted.
In May 1999, there appeared in the press the obituary of Miss Ida Lowndes,
with a reproduction of 'Ida Lowndes' portrait by Sir William Dargie. Dargie's
brother, Horrie died on
30 August 1999, aged 82.
Dargie, in an article titled, 'Artist chalks up 88 years' written by John
Hamilton, and published in the Herald Sun 3 June 2000, notes that,
'I finished my last formal portrait in oils last year. I decided that
as the century was coming to an end, I belonged to the last century and
that was it.' Although he may not be painting portraits, Dargie still
works at his passion, producing 'pen and ink drawings and sketches in
charcoal and chalk pastels.'
Dargie wrote the
'Foreword' to the George Browning Catalogue, for the Memorial Retrospective
Exhibition that was opened at the Victorian Artists' Society Galleries
by Ian Armstrong on 19 May 2001.
On 27 October 2001,
Dargie was an official guest and speaker at the launching of the life
and works of Albert Namatjira on the Internet site: www.artistsfootsteps.com
In December, Dargie
had a heart pace-maker fitted.
Dargie and his wife, Kathleen have always been great supporters of their
local library and also of the State Library of Victoria. In recent times,
Dargie has donated to the La Trobe Library, State Library of Victoria,
a number of his works, including a portrait of his brother, and sketches
of Lord Casey, Lindsay Fox and Sir Robert Gordon Menzies.
himself as Bill, yet to many of his contemporaries he is 'Darg' or 'Dargie'.
Asked if the family had a special affectionate name for Dargie, I was
informed that the youngest members of the Dargie clan call him 'Grumpy'.
I was also informed
that Dargie carries with him a card with words of wisdom to live by, written
by his mother in 1928, with the following quotation from the English poet,
Percy Bysshe Shelley,
Much may be conquered,
Much may be endured
of what degrades and crushes us.
That we have the power over
ourselves to do,
And suffer-what we know not
till we try
Nobler than to live or die.
Sir William Dargie passed away 26 July 2003.
Works by Sir William
Dargie are held in the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, in all
State Galleries, and in the Regional Galleries - Castlemaine, Benalla,
Bendigo, Geelong, Mildura, Perth University, University of Melbourne,
and University of Sydney.
An estimated 600
works are in the collection of the Australian War Memorial, Canberra,
and there are further works held in institutional and private collections
throughout Australia and overseas.
Sir William Dargie
has worked on many commissions, including the portrait of H.M. Queen Elizabeth
II, H.R.H. The Duke of Edinburgh, H.R.H. The Duke of Gloucester, Princess
Alexandra and her mother, and The Princess Royal.
Among his other commissions,
which include portraits of prominent men and women in the areas of politics,
sport, science, education and business, is his portrait of Sir George
Pearce P.C., for King's Hall, (Old) Parliament House, Canberra. Dargie
has also produced self-portraits, and portraits of his wife, his brother,
his father and his daughter, Faye.
Dargie has worked
in a range of mediums, including oil, watercolour, pastel, gouache, chalk,
pen and ink, charcoal, and pencil, and apart from his portraits for which
he is best known, has produced many still-life's, landscapes, interiors,
and works of the ballet and theatre.
The artist, Louis
Kahan drew Dargie's portrait in 1962, and more recently, the artist, June
Mendoza painted Dargie's portrait in oils.
Dargie was a member,
and in some cases is still a member, of a number of clubs. These include
the Melbourne Club, Melbourne Savage Club, Yorick Club, L.T.A.V., Naval
and Military Club, Victorain Artists' Society of which he is a Life Member
and Honorary Fellow, Twenty Melbourne Painters and the Australian Academy
He is F.R.S.A. London
and F.R.A.S. New South Wales and has exhibited with the Royal Academy
and Royal Society of Portrait Painters.
Arthur Streeton - Above Us The Great Grave Sky, 1890
Collection: National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.